Best Undergraduate Economics Programs in the Nation

Jul 24, 2018

Read about the best undergraduate programs in economics. Find out which high-ranking schools offer bachelor's degrees in this field of study, and use the list at the end of the resource to see what other universities in the U.S. have undergraduate programs in economics.

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Undergraduate programs in economic can lead to a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science. These degrees can prepare students for work in a number of fields, including finance, government, or public policy. Graduates may also pursue master's or doctoral programs in economics, accounting, business administration, or law. The four schools highlighted below include a member of the Ivy League, as well as two public and one private university. Individual school features include opportunities for research or thesis tracks. Each of these schools was nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report for 2017.

Harvard University

Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Harvard provides opportunities to study economics abroad in Asia, Europe, South America, Africa, or Australia. Harvard University is an Ivy League school that ranked second on the U.S. News & World Report's list of national universities in 2017. As determined by U.S. News & World Report in 2013, the university's graduate program in economics was one of four schools to achieve first place, a distinction it shared with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton University, and the University of Chicago. The strength of the graduate program can sometimes indicate a strong undergraduate program as well. Through the Department of Economics, undergraduates can pursue a primary or secondary concentration in the subject with either a thesis or an advanced course track. Outside of the classroom, economics majors can also participate in seminars and workshops.

University of Chicago

University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois. Chicago offers an extensive series of economics-based workshops. In 2017, the University of Chicago tied for third among national universities, as designated by U.S. News & World Report. As previously mentioned, the graduate program at the university's Department of Economics ranked number one in the nation in 2013, and tied with Harvard, Princeton, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Department of Economics offers a Bachelor of Arts with a thesis option and the chance to participate in an honors workshop. Program emphasis is on the scientific, mathematical, and statistical aspects of economics. Opportunities for research take place through assistantships and full-time, off-campus jobs.

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities in Minneapolis, MN. Minnesota hosts the Economics Student Organization (ESO). According to U.S. News & World Report in 2013, the University of Minnesota in Twin Cities, one of the largest public universities in the U.S., tied for the 11th best graduate economics program in the nation. The university was ranked #26 among all public schools for 2017. The Department of Economics offers three undergraduate degrees in economics, including a B.A., Bachelor of Science, and B.A. with a quantitative emphasis. The latter is similar to the B.S. in that it includes extensive coursework in calculus, algebra, and econometrics. The school also offers seven minors in economics, including applied, general, or monetary economics; international trade and development; econometrics; and management. Additional educational opportunities include internships and undergraduate research.

Ohio State University

Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. The school has an undergraduate honors program in economics. Students at Ohio State University can choose between a B.A. and a B.S. in Economics. The B.S. program focuses more heavily on the quantitative aspects of economics and most students in the undergraduate honors program pursue this degree. Alongside the standard coursework, undergraduates may also assist faculty with economics research or finding internships at the public or private sector. They can also join the undergraduate economics society, which organizes a weekly discussion group, invites guest speakers to the university, and facilitates networking events. For 2017, U.S. New & World Report ranked Ohio State #16 among all public schools in the United States.

Top Economics Programs

School Name Distinction Location
Princeton University Has distinguished visiting faculty from the Federal Reserve of New York, the World Bank, and other organizations Princeton, NJ
Purdue University Alumni have started careers at institutions such as Sears Holdings, Eli Lilly, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and JPMorgan Chase right out of college West Lafayette, IN
University of California - Berkeley Current and previous faculty members have won Nobel prizes Berkeley, CA
University of Pennsylvania Home to the International Economic Review, a national publication Philadelphia, PA
University of Texas Offers Master of Public Accounting (MPA) program Austin, TX
University of Wisconsin Three distinguished scholarships offered to undergraduate economics students Madison, WI

For students who want to earn bachelor's degrees in economics, strong programs are offered at many top universities. In addition to wide-ranging economics coursework, some of the best schools also provide outside enrichment opportunities such as research and internships.

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